Vaccinations for those aged 16 and 17 will begin this weekend, Scotland’s health secretary has announced.
Earlier this week the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advised that the vaccine rollout should be extended to anyone aged 16 or over.
Appointments can be booked at some vaccination clinics this weekend or they can visit a drop-in centre if staff have been trained and appropriate information is available at the location.
A full rollout of the vaccination programme for 16 and 17-year-olds will be in place across Scotland from Tuesday.
Health secretary Humza Yousaf said: “In line with the latest advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, those who are 16 and 17 will be offered a first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.
“We know that drop-in clinics make it easier for young people to fit getting vaccinated into their busy lives.
“I am therefore pleased to announce that some clinics will be able to start to offer 16 to 17-year-olds the Pfizer vaccine this weekend.
“Arrangements differ across the country, and you should check your local health board’s social media channels to see what is available in your local area.
“Then, from Tuesday August 10, all drop-in clinics in Scotland that offer the Pfizer vaccine will be open to 16 to 17-year-olds.
“I would urge all eligible young people to take up the offer of vaccination. You can find out where your nearest drop-in clinics are by visiting NHS Inform which will direct you to the latest information from your local health board – or through your local board’s social media channels.
“Our route out of this pandemic is getting as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible, that is why I am urging young people to take up the offer of the vaccine by dropping into a clinic or by booking an appointment.”
At present, children over the age of 12 are only eligible for a vaccine if they have certain medical conditions which put them at risk from Covid-19 or teenagers who live with people who are immunocompromised.
It is understood that government officials are not ruling out vaccinations for otherwise healthy 12 to 15-year-olds but want to look at more information first.
In making its decision, the JCVI said that a number of factors have been considered but the most important element was the benefit of vaccination to the individual compared to any risks.
Following the news that people aged 16 and over could now be vaccinated, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon wrote on Twitter: “This is good news and a step forward that I’ve been hoping for.”
She added that she hopes evidence will allow the JCVI to recommend the vaccine for “wider groups of young people in future” but that, in the meantime, the Scottish Government “will get on with offering it to all 16/17 year olds ASAP”.